Advanced Networks Colloquium: Eric Kolaczyk, "Cellular Mechanisms of Action"

Friday, April 27, 2012
11:00 a.m.
1146 A.V. Williams Building
Kimberly Edwards
301 405 6579

Advanced Networks Colloquium
Network-based Statistical Models and Methods for Identification of Cellular Mechanisms of Action

Eric Kolaczyk
Professor of Statistics, and Director of the Program in Statistics
Department of Mathematics and Statistics
Boston University

| video |

Identifying biological mechanisms of action (e.g. biological pathways) that control disease states, drug response, and altered cellular function is a multifaceted problem involving a dynamic system of biological variables that culminate in an altered cellular state. The challenge is in deciphering the factors that play key roles in determining the cell's fate. In this talk I will describe some of the efforts by our group to develop statistical models and methods for identification of cellular mechanisms of action. More specifically, we assume gene expression data and treat the problem of determining mechanisms of action under perturbation (e.g., drug treatment, gene knockout, etc.) as a type of inverse problem. I will describe three approaches to solving this inverse problem. The first attempts to use only the gene expression data and to `filter' that data by an inferred network of gene regulatory interactions. The other two -- one testing-based and the other regression-based -- use gene expression data in conjunction with information from biological databases. More specifically, gene expression is modeled as deriving from a perturbed latent network of pathways, where the inter-connections among pathways is informed by shared biological function. Illustrations are given in the context of yeast experiments and human cancer

Eric Kolaczyk is Professor of Statistics, and Director of the Program in Statistics, in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at Boston University, where he also is an affiliated faculty member in the Program in Bioinformatics, the Program in Neuroscience, and the Division of Systems Engineering. Before coming to Boston University, he was faculty in the Department of Statistics at the University of Chicago. In addition, he has been a visiting faculty at Harvard University, the Universite de Paris VII, and l'Ecole Nationale de la Statistique et de l'Administration Economique (ENSAE) in Paris. Prof. Kolaczyk's main research interests currently revolve around the statistical analysis of network-indexed data, and include both the development of basic methodology and inter-disciplinary work with collaborators in bioinformatics, computer science, geography, neuroscience, and sociology. Prior to his working in the area of networks, Prof. Kolaczyk spent a decade working on statistical multi-scale modeling. Prof. Kolaczyk has served as associate editor on several journals, including previously the IEEE Transactions on Image Processing and currently the Journal of the American Statistical Association. He is an elected fellow of the American Statistical Association (ASA), an elected senior member of the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and an elected member of the International Statistical Institute (ISI).

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